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VIFF Is Back with a Stellar Selection of Global Cinema

This year, The Tyee is partnering with the festival to showcase groundbreaking documentaries.

From Sept. 28 to Oct. 8, over 130 films will light up screens across the city for the 42nd Vancouver International Film Festival.

The 2023 film lineup showcases some of the most visionary filmmakers from Canada and around the world.

Meanwhile, VIFF Talks will give you a behind-the-scenes look at epic films like Barbie, Oppenheimer and Dune. And VIFF Live invites you to experience immersive live shows that combine performance and cinema.

A program of over 40 feature documentaries

Documentaries extend across the festival’s many film series, including Special Presentations, Portraits, Spectrum, Northern Lights and Showcase.

The Special Presentations series includes the winner of the People's Choice Award for documentary at this year's Toronto International Film Festival, Mr. Dressup: The Magic of Make-Believe.

Meanwhile, journeys, expeditions and roads less travelled are at the heart of many Insights titles, a documentary stream which The Tyee has partnered with.

Ten documentary highlights to bookmark

Winter Chants
Tsang Tsui Shan
Hong Kong

This moving doc zooms in on Ho Chung Village, which lies in the hilly rural area of Hong Kong. Once a decade, its citizens hold the Peace and Light Festival as a tribute to their village, its departed souls and the gods that preside over them all.

Union Street
Jamila Pomeroy

Interspersing interviews with archival footage, Union Street documents the history of Vancouver’s Hogan’s Alley, the formerly Black neighbourhood which was destroyed by the construction of the Georgia viaduct in the 1970s.

Mr. Dressup: The Magic of Make-Believe
Robert McCallum

A celebration of Canada's favourite children's show, Mr. Dressup, which built a legacy of kindness, patience, inclusiveness and creativity, all while enriching the lives of five generations.

The Invention of the Other
Bruno Jorge

In 2019, FUNAI, a Brazilian state protection agency working for Indigenous rights, sent an expedition of 30 people into the Amazon to make contact with the Korubo people. This powerful film is an immersive ethnographic journey that breaks apart monolithic assumptions about the peoples who have long lived in the rainforest.

I'm Just Here for the Riot
Kathleen S. Jayme, Asia Youngman

Vancouver, June 15, 2011. Hours after the Canucks lost Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, rioters laid waste to blocks of downtown. In this absorbing documentary, Kathleen S. Jayme (The Grizzlie Truth) and Asia Youngman revisit that chaotic night.

Mighty Afrin: In the Time of Floods
Angelos Rallis

From the flood plains of Brahmaputra River to Bangladesh’s capital city, this stunning hybrid documentary captures the catastrophic effects of climate change upon the country’s people and landscape. Told through an orphan's personal odyssey.

Jules Arita Koostachin

WaaPaKe is a story about resilience, love and transformation. Examined through an Indigenous lens, in this world premier the stories of residential school Survivor-Warriors and their families offer an understanding of both intergenerational trauma and healing.

Mareya Shot, Keetah Goal: Make the Shot
Baljit Sangra, Nilesh Patel

This spirited sports doc and world premier follows four junior hockey players of South Asian descent through the 2021-22 season as they strive to make it to the NHL. Among them, Surrey’s own Arsh Bains, who signs with the Vancouver Canucks.

Deep Rising
Matthieu Rytz

Exploring the luminous ecosystems deep in the Pacific Ocean alongside the countries and companies hoping to reap the lucrative deposits of precious metals lining depths of the ocean, Deep Rising asks if this may end our search for efficient green power.

Physician, Heal Thyself
Asher Penn

One of the world's foremost experts on addiction and trauma, in this world premier Dr. Gabor Maté shares not only his theories, but also his own story: his difficult childhood in Hungary and his long years of therapeutic practice in and around Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

The best of the rest

VIFF Live: 32 Sounds

An immersive “live documentary” experience from filmmaker Sam Green that explores the elemental phenomenon of sound. Each audience member will be provided with headphones to create an incredible sound mix at the Vancouver Playhouse.

VIFF Talk: Building the Closet of Oppenheimer

In Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, costume designer Ellen Mirojnick channels the iconic style of the “father of the atomic bomb.” Discover her insights on designing for drama and period pieces, emphasizing research and creative collaboration.

VIFF Plaza

Head down to downtown Vancouver to kick off VIFF 2023 in style with free outdoor film screenings, food stalls, giveaways and more from VIFF and our partners.

On Sunday, Oct. 1, VIFF will be opening their very own drive-in cinema (car not required!) to celebrate a comedy classic from George Lucas, American Graffiti. And on Monday, Oct. 2, follow Kermit’s cross-country road trip with a screening of Jim Henson’s The Muppet Movie, as VIFF packs the plaza with fun for all ages.

Start planning your festival and view the full program at the VIFF website.  [Tyee]

Read more: Film

This article is part of a Tyee Presents initiative. Tyee Presents is the special sponsored content section within The Tyee where we highlight contests, events and other initiatives that are either put on by us or by our select partners. The Tyee does not and cannot vouch for or endorse products advertised on The Tyee. We choose our partners carefully and consciously, to fit with The Tyee’s reputation as B.C.’s Home for News, Culture and Solutions. Learn more about Tyee Presents here.

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